The Registers of the Chief Herald at the Genealogical Office, the armorials and ordinaries of arms, the Funeral Entries, Lords’ Entries and records of Knights Dubbed are all a useful source to the historian or genealogist researching an armigerous family. These documents, which derive from the functions of the Office, are consulted regularly by staff of the Chief Herald’s Office in the course of their duties.
Roger O'Ferall’s Linea Antiqua is the most important source for the genealogies of Gaelic families and also contains exemplifications of arms. Other collections may be considered equally important to the researcher and certain information from now lost sources previously held in the Public Record Office is of particular value. For example, the genealogical and historical information contained in the abstracts from the Plea Rolls from the reign Henry III to that of Henry VI are the most important source for Norman genealogy; the extracts from the Pipe Rolls from the reign of Henry III to that of Edward III contain similar information; for a later period (1536 – 1810) tabulated pedigrees contained in the abstracts of wills proved at the prerogative court of the Archbishop of Armagh can be consulted.
The numerous other collections which have been acquired as sources of genealogical information include Ecclesiastical Visitations, a list of high sheriffs of counties, a roll of freemen of the City of Dublin, lists of freeholders and a list of gentlemen attainted by King James. A complete catalogue appears in A Guide to the Genealogical Office published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission.
Access to the Genealogical Office manuscript collections (GO Ms) with the exception of GO Manuscripts 1-188 (see below) is open to all holders of a Readers' Ticket. See Access and Copying Facilities and Catalogues & Databases.
Withdrawal of GO Manuscripts 1-188
A condition assessment of the GO Manuscript collection was recently undertaken and many manuscripts were found to be in very poor condition with continued access resulting in further damage. Selected manuscripts (GO Mss 1-188) are no longer available for reader consultation and microfilm surrogates are issued in place of the originals. The relevant microfilm numbers may be found on the Microfilm list at the Manuscript Reading Room desk and on our website (www.nli.ie). We are currently piloting a digitisation project for these GO Mss volumes.
The Office of the Chief Herald does not undertake genealogical research or searches in the records of the office, on behalf of members of the public. For advice on genealogical research in Ireland, the Genealogy Advisory Service is available to all personal callers to the Library. For more information about Family History Research in the Library, and information on commissioning research by third parties, please see the Family History section of this website.
A select bibliography of titles relating to heraldry, Irish genealogy and family history, many of which are available in the main Reading Room, can be downloaded here: